Millennials, or Generation Y, are those individuals born between 1980 and 1995. These young adults are entering the workforce enmasse and, once baby boomers begin to retire, but only after our 201k/s become 401 k/s again, will become the new middle management working class. These young adults, in three years or so, will be the predominant factor in the next great companies. They will be doing the work. They will be prepared. Fingers crossed.
A precursor to career advancement is earning respect from your bosses and your co-workers. It is like the sophomore basketball player who might be good enough to make the varsity in a couple of years. He is earning the respect of his coaches and teammates even now, by working hard, attending extra practices, doing all the drills and so on. This respect, whether or not accompanied by an increase in talent, has earned him a place on the bench. I might well be wrong…“frequently wrong, never in doubt”…but I think some Generation Y workers could care less about “respect.” Instead they believe that charisma and sheer talent as they define it will serve them into the future. They believe that their place on the bench is assured, just ‘cuz.
Here are ten things to earn respect now in the workplace.
1. Master email communication. Learn every tool and technique there is to better communicate via email. To the point: write well. Don’t use “ur,” when you should use “you’re.” Get in the habit of re-reading your emails and editing them. I am not sure if sloppy spelling and poor writing can be switched off when you get that middle manager spot. Study a basic punctuation textbook again…the first time, chances are you didn’t see the value of it. Eats, Shoots and Leaves is my favorite.
2. Don’t complain. Or even whine. Have you ever noticed how performers hardly ever complain, they simply figure out a way to solve problems? If you complain now, you are setting yourself up for a lifetime of bitchin’ and moaning.
3. Learn new stuff. Trust me, you probably do not know everything you will need to know in the future. Get a mentor and find out what you don’t know now. Us boomers feel very paternal toward this group. We want to help. Taking charge of this process will earn you respect.
4. Don’t say stupid stuff. When chit chatting in the office, be careful what you say.
Network & Systems Integration Engineer @ Alcatel-Lucent